From Medical News Today: Naloxone, a fast-acting medication used to block the effects of opioids, can be successfully coprescribed to patients receiving opioid analgesics for chronic pain in primary care. Naloxone coprescribing was associated with reduced opioid-related emergency room visits, suggesting that adopting this practice could reduce opioid-related adverse events. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Unintentional opioid overdose is a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Many interventions to curb opioid-related morbidity and mortality have not proven effective, but targeted distribution of naloxone to those likely to witness or experience an opioid overdose, mainly illicit drug users, has been associated with substantial reductions in opioid overdose mortality in communities where this practice is implemented. In San Francisco, implementation and expansion of a targeted naloxone distribution program was associated with a temporary decline in heroin-related deaths. However, the number of deaths attributed to opioid analgesics taken for chronic pain continued to climb. Limited research suggests that prescribing naloxone to these patients when they receive their opioid prescriptions could decrease overdose.